ECG Question #19


A client on telemetry begins to have unstable supraventricular tachycardia. The nurse observes that the client is alert and able to follow commands. Based on the assessment findings, what will be a priority intervention?


  1. The client should be instructed to deep breathe and cough forcefully every one to three seconds.
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  2. The client should be instructed to drink a full glass of clear fluids
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  3. The nurse should increase the infusion rate to improve hydration status
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  4. The client should be instructed to breathe regularly and deeply
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Coughing forcefully every one to three seconds may help terminate supraventricular tachycardia through stimulation of the vagus nerve, which supplies parasympathetic motor fibers to the myocardium. The maneuver is used to slow the heart rate. One method of vagal maneuver technique includes coughing forcefully and sustained. Forceful coughing may be easier to perform if the client is able to perform the technique. Forceful coughing is one of several methods of vagal maneuver. Other methods include bearing down (the Valsalva maneuver), cold stimulus, gagging, and carotid massage. Drinking clear fluids, increasing an intravenous infusion rate, and deep breathing are not effective to terminate supraventricular tachycardia.

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